AMBIKA PRASAD RAJWADE Vs. STATE OF CHHATTISGARH
HIGH COURT OF CHHATTISGARH
AMBIKA PRASAD RAJWADE
STATE OF CHHATTISGARH
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A.K.PATNAIK, C.J. -
(1.) All these writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution of India relate to the Chhattisgarh Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2004 made under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 were heard analogously and are being disposed of by this common order.
(2.) Under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (for short "the Act") the Central Government has been vested with the power to make orders providing for regulating or prohibiting the production, supply and distribution of essential commodity and trade and commerce therein if the Central Government is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do for maintaining or increasing supplies of any essential commodity or for securing their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices. The Central Government delegated this power to the State Governments under Section 5 of the Act by an order dated 9th of June, 1978 in relation to food stuffs subject to such conditions as specified in the said order. On 23rd of June 2001 the State Government of Chhattisgarh made the Chhattisgarh (Khadya Padarth) Sarvajanik Nagrik Poorti Vitran Scheme, 2001 in exercise of such delegated power under Section 3 of the Act for distribution of different food stuffs through fair price shops. Pursuant to said Scheme of 2001, the State Government entered into agreements with the petitioners and also issued licences in favour of the petitioners for running fair price shops at different places in the State of Chhattisgarh. On 31st of August, 2001 the Central Government made the Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001 under Section 3 of the Act providing for distribution of food grains through fair price shops and provided therein that the State Government shall issue an order under Section 3 of the Act for regulating the sale and distribution of essential commodities and shall issue the licences to the fair price shop owner under the said order laying down the duties and responsibilities of the fair price shop owners. Accordingly, the State Government made a fresh order under Section 3 of the Act by a notification dated 23rd of December, 2004 called the Chhattisgarh Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2004 (for short the Order 2004). Clause 9 (1) of the Order 2004 makes provisions regarding allocation of fair price shops in the State of Chhattisgarh and is extracted hereunder :
"9. Allocation of fair price shops (1) Fair Price Shop run by Large Aadim Jati Multipurpose Co-operative Societies (LAMPS), Primary credit co-operative societies, forest protection committees, self help groups, Gram Panchayats and other co-operative societies shall be continued but not run by the private persons. Within six months from commencement of this Order, Fair Price Shops run by the private persons shall be cancelled and allotted to the specified agencies mentioned in sub-rules (3) and (4) of rule 9". In accordance with provisions of Clause 9(1) of the Order 2004, quoted above, the licences issued to the petitioners are proposed to be cancelled and the fair price shops are proposed to be allotted to agencies specified in the said Order 2004. Aggrieved, the petitioners have challenged the provisions of the Order 2004 on different grounds and/or the orders of the authorities proposing to cancel the licences of the petitioners for running the fair price shops.
(3.) Mr. Prashant Jayaswal, Sr. Advocate, assisted by Mr. Ali Asgar learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 445 of 2005 submitted that the petitioner is a private person and the agreement between the petitioner and the State Government relating to the fair price shop being run by the petitioner provided in Clause (15) that the agreement could be terminated only for breach of the conditions of the agreement by the petitioner and hence the allotment of fair price shop to the petitioner and the licence of the petitioner for running the fair price shop cannot be cancelled by the State Government unless it is established that the petitioner has committed some breach of the agreement. He submitted that though there is no allegation that the petitioner has committed any breach of the agreement the authorities are now proposing to cancel the allotment of fair price shop to the petitioner as well as the licence for the fair price shop of the petitioner under the Order 2004. Mr. Prashant Mishra, learned Additional Advocate General, for the State of Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, submitted that the allotment as well as the licence of the petitioner for running the fair price shop will have to be cancelled in accordance with the provisions of Clause 9(1) of the Order 2004.;
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